When DeMarcus Cousins decided to join the champion Golden State Warriors in free agency a couple weeks ago, the NBA community erupted on social media.
Why even play the upcoming season? The best team just added who some regard as the league’s top center.
Cousins was accused of ring-chasing. He was also called out for furthering the parity issue that super teams have created across the NBA landscape.
Then, the facts started to trickle out.
Cousins, who is recovering from a devastating Achilles injury, didn’t get much interest across the league. While he did receive a two-year, $40 million offer to return to the New Orleans Pelicans, it wasn’t a max deal. Therefore, his plan then became to sign somewhere for one season, re-prove himself on the court after healing and hit the free agent market again next summer in search of a lucrative max offer somewhere.
He decided that he wanted to win a ring with a contending squad while simultaneously proving that he’s not the self-centered player that many have perceived him to be. That’s why he signed with the Warriors.
A "mature" decision
Cousins’ friend and current Memphis Grizzly Garrett Temple recently spoke with Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype and revealed his thoughts on the decision.
“DeMarcus’ [decision] really surprised me. As someone who’s friends with Cous’, I was a little scared that he may not get a big deal because of the Achilles injury – I thought that people may be frightened off because of that. But I talked to him, I hit him up, after the deal and he told me the reasons why [he joined the Warriors]. He told me he wanted to go to a team that’s winning, that has a winning culture, and he wants to show that he’s healthy and can still play and then get back out on the market next year,” Temple explained.
He continued, “Honestly, I thought that was a very mature decision by him, [especially] for a guy who has been pegged as ‘immature.’ By going to the Warriors, he’s showing people that he’s all about winning. That passion that he displays, some people don’t understand that it’s all about wanting to win. For people who don’t know him, he’s a team guy.”
Temple believes Cousins showed a great deal of maturity for making the choice he made.
“Now, by going to the Warriors, maybe people can understand, ‘Okay, maybe he is all about winning.’ Because he could’ve went to a bad team and gotten paid [more money], but that wouldn’t have done anything for him and his value,” Temple said. “For him to go to Golden State [impressed me]. And now, I saw today that he said ‘If I have to come off of the bench, I’m cool with it.’ That just shows the maturity level he’s at right now. Now, I really hope he can get healthy enough to really do some good things… against every other team except the Grizzlies.”
Now that the anger has slightly died down, it will be interesting to see the impact that Cousins has, both on and off the court, in Golden State. If he can get through the year without letting his temper get the best of him, can get along with his teammates and return to form while helping Golden State win their fourth title in five years, he will undoubtedly be in the mix for a long-term max deal next summer.